About

As Evolven’s marketing director since 2010, I directed all phases of both the creative and technical elements of marketing initiatives including event planning and organization, brand creation, print/Web collateral development, channel partner cultivation, lead generation, as well as running webinars.

Contact Me

Phone: 054-921-3547 Email: martinperlin@yahoo.com

About

6.30.2009

I spotted a trend idea!

 
Trends are everywhere and changing daily - even hourly. Twitter trends has become the new 'bestseller's list to get on, or at least hitch a ride with (for popularity and other marketing purposes).

I have followed Springwise "Your Daily Dose of Entrepreneurial Ideas" for nearly 3 years. I both excited and impressed every week to get the newsletter, and see the latest new ideas that people have put into business. The innovations are cool, and really juice up your creativity karma.

The other side of this exciting venture is the people that find the 'trends' - these new, innovative ideas. It's not even the business themselves that are plugging themselves, but people like you and me that see something new and say 'That's cool. I've never seen that before.'

This is the entrepreneurs ultimate idea fountain. See something cool on Springwise that was done in Berlin. You can emulate it and launch something similar in Portland, Oregon.


As their website explains: "Springwise scans the globe for the most promising business ventures, ideas and concepts that are ready for regional or international adaptation, expansion, partnering, investments or cooperation. We ferociously track more than 400 global offline and online business resources, as well as taking to the streets of world cities, digital cameras at hand."

Submitting to Springwise
This year I started submitting things that caught my eye. One idea that I saw from a couple of Israeli entrepreneurs was a startup for ordering from restaurants Bite2Eat. As their website describes: The team here at Bite2Eat.com wants to make interacting with restaurants across the country as convenient and natural as the on-line banking or shopping you've gotten accustomed to.

It looked like a unique, new and hip idea - leveraging our new online comforts for new areas. The idea could be applied in countless new directions, making more and more service experiences as convenient as online banking.

The idea was turned down. The letter I received was "It was either spotted by someone else or wasn't the kind of idea we're looking for."

Finding Trends
What makes a trend, or in for Springwise a local innovation with global potential?
I think the following points provide a good criteria
- Universality
- Adaptability
- Currentness
- Uniqueness

What I spotted
Well actually my wife found it, but I submitted it to Springwise. It is called Pikolonia, and it is a unique play center in Israel, resembling a mini city where children can experience the “grown-up” world. The activities help kids learn and explore different aspects of day- to-day life by touching‚ observing and acting‚ all done in an atmosphere of incredible fun!

This place had it all. It hit the 'trend criteria' on the ball. What is being done on the moderate scale in Israel, could be emulated on a larger, bigger budget scale in the US.

So we don't need to be the smartest people in class. Ideas are out there, we just have to know where to look.

Bernie Madoff and The Dark Knight

 
Bernie Madoff is going to jail for 150 years for stealing billions. He stole from millionaires and from charities. He is a villain, a thief, and a despicable person. But he isn't like the villains we imagine, or see in film. He wasn't connected to organized crime. He didn't distribute drugs or sell unapproved medicine to third world countries.
Madoff was the chairman of NASDAQ .

Madoff served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sy Syms School of Business at Yeshiva University, and as Treasurer of its Board of Trustees.

Madoff undertook charity work for the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation and also engaged in philanthropic giving through The Madoff Family Foundation, a $19 million private foundation, which he managed along with his wife. They donated money to hospitals and theaters.(from Wikipedia)

He wasn't diabolical, a raving madman, or out to take over the world. He wouldn't have made a very convincing villain of a comic book. And so from a long list of prestigious clients - individuals and organizations - they were taken in.

Madoff was promising annual returns of at least 10% a year, no matter how the market performed. The investors didn't raise an eyebrow.

This would definitely raise the suspicions of the head of Wayne Industries and Gotham playboy, Bruce Wayne.

INT. BOARDROOM, WAYNE ENTERPRISES -- CONTINUOUS
Wayne is standing by the window.
FOX
Another long night?

(Wayne smiles)

This joint venture was your idea, and
the consultants love it, but I'm not
convinced. L.S.I.'s grown 8 percent
annually, like clockwork. They must
have a revenue stream that's off the
books. Maybe even illegal.

WAYNE
OK. Cancel the deal.

FOX
(looks at Wayne)
You already knew.

WAYNE
I needed a closer look at their
books.

(from THE DARK KNIGHT by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan)

Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, saw through such a Madoff situation immediately in the movie The Dark Knight. The difference was that the constant growth was due to 'other revenue streams' like illegal operations and organized crime, instead of the Ponzi scheme bringing in new investors to cover the old.

Where is Batman when we need him.

6.22.2009

Do you wanna be a twock star?

 
Do you wanna have a bestseller?
Do you wanna climb a mountain?
Do you wanna make a 7-course meal?

A friend said to me that he had a goal to advance his social media marketing and get 5000 followers on Twitter.
"By when?" I asked.
"I don't know, it'll probably take awhile."
"What's your strategy?"
"My strategy? I just told you - to get 5000 followers."
"What about 2000, when will you have 2000."
"2000, who's talking about 2000, I just told you. I am aiming for 5000."

There are a lot of alluring pages promising followers in the thousands. Double, triple, quadruple in days and weeks the amount of followers on your Twitter. I haven't analyzed every method, nor do I discount their validity and claims. But I am suspicious of the value that they provide me. Some are pushing their online market products and videos, requesting sign-up fees, others just ask you to join the bandwagon and start endorsing lists upon lists of others on Twitter - whether you know them or not.

The other sites that talk about practical tips you should be doing to encourage followers. For instance Kevin Rose (DIGG founder) suggests such practices as Retweeting, and they become win-win. Or get your Twitter name out there - everywhere you can - in your email signature, on a forum posting, in a comment, in your LinkedIn...

Ultimately the suggestion sites come back to a fundamental element: content. Valuable content. Interesting content. Useful content. Entertaining content.

Kevin Rose notes "Tweet about your passions in life and #hash tag them. Quality content coupled with an easy way to find it never fails. If others enjoy your content, they’ll add you."

Sure there are really successful Twitterers (whales in Twitter tongue) like Oprah Winfrey who has over a million followers is only following 14. None of these social media marketing techniques are relevent to stars. They have already established themselves and made their mark. Their following exists, and just needs a direction.

Can I conclude that because Oprah is on Twitter, then I will also be wildly successful. Can I conclude that because Larry Page and Sergey Brin (of Google) started Google in garage, that my path to success should start with getting a garage?

Obviously not.

So how do you become a Twitter Rock Star (or in Twitter tongue a Twock Star).

Write Great Content
As noted in HubSpot's SEO tips: "The name of the game for search engine optimization is extremely simple. Once you're up and running with the right tools and systems, all you need to do is....

Publish new GREAT content on new pages on your website REGULARLY.

People get so confused about SEO. They are usually just wrapped up in all of the details.

But, if you want to do SEO correctly, there's one thing that you will spend the majority of your time doing: Writing Great Content."

Write It and They Will Come?
I doubt it. It's like the proverbial tree in the forest. If no one is present when it falls, does it make a sound?

The great content is the basis for great promotions. Still a lot of work lies ahead for getting followers, but the first, biggest and most important step is content.

Every Journey
As the classic proverb says "Every Journey of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step", the road to stardom and massive followings starts small. In fact I would say that every journey of a hundred yards begins with a single step. It's the same first step no matter how far you plan to go. The difference is that 'a hundred yards' is within view of the first step. It's all about how you break down your goals.

10-10-10
Suzy Welch has literally written the book on goal setting in her 10-10-10 technique (10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years). She explains: "In today’s accelerated world, with its competing priorities, information overload, and confounding options, we can easily find ourselves steered by impulse, stress, or expedience. Are our decisions the right ones? Or are we being governed, time and time again, and against our best intentions, by the demands of the moment? With 10-10-10, Welch proposes a transformative solution to deal with this pressure."

It's all about breaking down the process into smaller manageable steps. Before you can get to 5000 followers, you need to pass 500.

John Moore (from Brand Autopsy)
talks about amping up Suzy Welch's model. "We need to amp up Suzy’s 10-10-10 thinking to account for how quickly information spreads online. 10 minutes. 10 hours. 10 days. That’s a more workable 10-10-10 consequences model for marketers dealing with issues worthy of explosive online conversation."

He's right. For taking steps towards 5000 followers, I don't want to be looking on scales of years. I want to gauge my success after 10 days, after another 10 days and so one.

Becoming a Twock Star
In short, write from your soul. Push your content like you have a big show coming up. And most of all set your sites on reasonable successes, so you can give yourself a pat on the back, and move higher. Remember if you want to be a rock star, you need to market yourself like a rock star.

Is Google your father's search engine? Now Real-time search!

 
By the time I finish writing this, my comments will be out of date. I am pushing beyond 140 characters, using full sentences, and vowels. Google has kept its eyes forward, and stayed ahead of the curve, but did they slip?

Now a comprehensive, simple to use search engine is outmoded. We need to know, and we need to know now!

Really what has happened isn't so much of what Google hasn't done, but where information has flowered. With Twitter bursting on the scene, and social networks becoming the new news exchange, the traditional places on Google have slipped behind. Its like going to an encyclopedia instead of wikipedia.

According to VentureBeat, they report on 11 contenders for the Real-time Search Engine mantle. At the lead is Collecta, who claims to be the fastest of the real-time search contenders.

One of the other candidates I like is Surchur, providing a dashboard look at search results.

6.18.2009

The Brand Gap Updated Version

 
The Brand Gap is one of my favorite presentations. I can't watch it enough. Its been updated (new pictures to keep up with the times) and has a few new slides. Otherwise the messages are still just as relevant.

Is Twitter really useful?

 
Something new is happening on Twitter this very moment. Is it good for business?

Do I really need to see it?

The brilliance of Twitter is its simplicity, but also its greatest drawback. Just logging into Twitter exposes you to hundreds of new postings, and as you scroll down to see what was posted '6 minutes ago' there is even more. Its fun. Its exciting. Its beyond the MTV generation (when attention spans shortened).

Can it work for business?

Two great applications that I have seen are HootSuite and CoTweet.

HootSuite
HootSuite is public and free, and ready to go. For a company's Twitter manager it will your company an overview of everyone who is doing corporate Twitters (support, marketing (staff) etc). You can see all the conversations from one dashboard view.

You can also manage the Tweets by writing them and setting a time for when they should be launched. This is great for marketing campaigns.

The exciting part is the admin side. HootSuite allows you to add more editors and accounts. This means that once the Twitter accounts are in HootSuite, several people can simultaneously Tweet from several Twitter accounts.

This is good for pushing the conversation in Twitter and monitoring how it develops. Still for the newshound and market researcher, it doesn't have a management mechanism for handling an abundant load of friends.

CoTweet
CoTweet is still in private Beta but sounds like it will be the next 'must have' business desktop application. Some leading companies are trying it out and initial feedback sounds promising. Check out the testimonial from MailChimp.
MailChimp summed up the common Twitter experience where Power Twitter users (Pwitters?) are communicating with customers on many levels and trying to keep track of the whole entereprise on notebooks and post-its (so to speak).
CoTweet reigns in the chaos with accepted enterprise management tools like ticketing and a database of searchable information. It provides tracking information and a very smooth professional interface.

To sum it up from MailChimp:
"CoTweet can help you manage your brand and manage the customer service experience (ahem, protocol), but still let your staff contribute to your social media efforts in a personal, human way."

6.16.2009

Tired of your existing social networks?

 
Today I received an invite to join Plurk (http://www.plurk.com/). It is (another) social network. I am already on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and diving into Twitter. I get updates from Plaxo, even though I still haven't joined.

My first thought was, 'Oh no, another social network to join, to have to update, to make friends etc...'

Then I saw: Tired of your existing Social Networks?

What did that mean? Am I sick of seeing my old high school friends and friends living in other towns on Facebook? Am I tired of getting ongoing updates from Twitter. Are my LinkedIn connections no longer serving my best interests?

How far do I need or want to fling myself in social networking? Before I even gotten my teeth into one social network, I can start all over in another.

There are more services like Plurk out there, for instance Ning (http://www.ning.com/) , which 'lets you discover and create new social networks for your interests and your passions'.

Exposure is very important for marketing, and the broader the exposure, especially for niche markets and products, the better. But how far and how much do we invest of ourselves. Can we make assumptions that most of our audience is already in the dominant social networks, and it is just a matter of directing our efforts to them. Or are there more untouched oases beyond the well known social media?

Vertical vs. Horizontal
Like many marketing considerations, this feels like 'vertical vs. horizontal'. Do I invest my time vertically and become well entrenched in leading social mediums, establishing a presence, following and even a brand. Or do I branch out horizontally into more and more networks (they are appearing every day).

Next killer app?
Maybe that will be the next killer app: maintain a presence and keep your updates fresh across the entire social media frontier from just one application.

6.14.2009

Counting Twitters

 
Want to see your popularity performance in Twitter?
Check out TwitterCounter (www.Twittercounter.com)

In very clear, graphical representation, you can see how your Twitter page 'took off' and snowballed, as it gathered more and more followers.

Twitter apps: TwitterFeed

 
Tired of logging into Twitter to put a link back to what you wrote on your blog?
Lets automate the process of updating your Tweets.

I am using TwitterFeed (www.twitterfeed.com).
I set up an account in TwitterFeed and my blog entries automatically appear on Twitter (checked every hour).
The links are shortened according to the shortening service of your choice.
I like SnipURL (www.snipurl.com).
One of the features of SnipURL is the ability to track in analytics how many clicks your link got.

Now I don't even have to be in Twitter to be on Twitter.

Twitter apps: TweetLater

 
Want to automate your Twitter followers growth?
I am looking for the killer Twitter app that will allow me to continually grow my followers, but without having to spend hours clicking 'follow'.

My first find is TweetLater (www.tweetlater.com). It comes in a free version and a pro version.
By logging in, I can set up accounts to 'manage' my Twitter.

The service will:
- automatically send DMs (direct messages) when someone starts to follow me, like 'thanks for the follow'
- automatically follow anyone that follows me

This has already borne fruits, showing an exponential growth, nearly doubling my followers each day.

Twitter apps: Twittangle

 
At just a few hundred followings and I am overwhelmed.
Where are those great voices I wanted to hear, how come when I come into Twitter my homepage looks overwhelmed with wild updates, by people I've never heard of. How can I straighten this out.

Not with Twitter.

Twitter is primitive. Essentially gaining followers, and following others, while pumping in another 140 characters.

I have started to reign in the chaos with Twit Tangle (www.twittangle.com).
This serves as a new login point for my Twitter, and allows me to:
- organize who I am following according groups
- rate who I am following by 'how much of a friend they are'
and much more

Suddenly I felt like I had control, and Twitter felt useful again.

Why write when you can ReTweet

 
Short on inspiration?
Already tweeted about what you ate for breakfast, and the weather?
Why clog up your Twitter page with more banter? Retweet!

Retweeting is a great way to spread good things around a Twitter, and connect to other people in this social medium (kind of like hitting 2 birds with one stone - no pun intended).

Retweeting is part of the developing linguistics of twitter. Just like we learned how to write in SMS. And LOL became a standard phrase, to retweet is to communicate.

How do you retweet?

Its a simple phrase in your Twitter post box, structured like this:
Retweet: @USERNAME repeated statement and link - your comment

It can even be shortened to:
RT: @USERNAME repeated statement and link - your comment

What does retweeting provide? Exposure to other users.
Why would I do that? I scratch your back, he scratches yours.

Gaining followers on Twitter

 
I have over 200 followers on Twitter. Since last Thursday, in just 4 days, my followers have been doubling daily.

I am also following over 200 people on Twitter. So I am not so successful.
Look at The White House, which is only following 66 but has over 300K of followers (http://twitter.com/whitehouse).

I am taking the traditional steps of 'link exchanges'.
Recently Kevin rose (DIGG) share his insights for how to gain more followers:
10 Ways To Increase Your Twitter Followers (http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/25/kevin-rose-10-ways-to-increase-your-twitter-followers/)

He doesn't talk about these kind of link exchanges, but about content and marketing. Learn from the successful Twitterers, and emulate.

Being interesting on Twitter

 
I was showing a friend Twitter, and demonstrating how our corporate account had remained sluggish in gathering followers. "Because your posts aren't interesting," he said. So I looked at him, like 'what are you talking about!'

What makes a post interesting? And if a post were 'interesting' would it automatically gather followers?

Its like the classic tree following in the woods. If I write an 'interesting' post on Twitter and I don't have many followers, how do I know someone will read it.

How do things kept picked up on Twitter? Searches.
What do people search for? Keywords.

So 6 weeks ago, if I had been twittering about Susan Boyle, I would have been found 'interesting'. In the meantime, I have found more conventional methods to gather followers.

6.11.2009

Branding Twitter

 
At first glance, Twitter feels limited. You can change the layout, or add stuff to the sidebar (except followers/ing and favorites). But once you step back from the Tweets, you can easily extend your brand identity onto your Twitter page.

Settings
First in your Settings area you can go into the 'Design' tab and set the colors for your Twitter page: links, sidebar color etc.

Background
Also in the Design tab you can change the background to a JPG image. More and more Twitter accounts are taking advantage of the 'prime real estate' on the left side, turning it into a left side bar with critical links, bio etc. For example here is my Twitter with a personalized background: http://twitter.com/martinperlin

A great free tool for making a cool personalized background is TwitBacks (http://www.twitbacks.com/). You just select your style, add the personalized information that you want to appear. Then you can upload this file into your Background in the Design tab.

Progress on Twitter

 
I have been lurking on Twitter for awhile. Then I jumped in with my company's official Twitter channel. Over the course of 3 months, that channel gained 38 followers. Twitter didn't look all that it was cracked up to be. Why all the hype?

How did I promote my company's Twitter? Very passively. It was limited only to a 'Follow Us' link in the monthly newsletter. No enticements.

Now I have started my own channel on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/martinperlin). Within a day, my channel has reached 65 followers. The main difference in approaches has been that for my own channel, I sought out and connected (followed) others on Twitter.

It is interesting to see the progress for fellow twitter users. I concluded that amount of people you are following has a direct effect on your amount of followers. Unless, you are Jack Welch (http://twitter.com/jack_welch), who has over 200,000 followers and is only following 12 people.

From here I want to explore the application of 'crowd marketing' and how the 'crowd' can help me.

6.09.2009

Starting a blog

 
As a marketeer, I can advise, urge, plead, and suggest to keep a blog along with other communication channels. However, when it comes to following my advice, I am just as reluctant. I suppose I've thought about maintaining a blog for several years. In my head, the blog has been updated regularly, and my insights have been developed and recorded.

Now I am really applying myself. An article that inspired me from a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, was about Dave Balter from Bzzagent (www.bzzagent.com) . His take on the corporate blog was about transparency - warts and all - right out there for everyone to see. If someone says something bad about him, then rather than ignore it, he shares it. "Hey you know what he said about me, hmmm, maybe he's got something."

The most insightful remark he made was about what to write. "But my view on blogging is if the writer is getting the chills - hovering over the mouse and thinking, 'Should I really send this?' - then it is probably going to be a good post."

So here it goes.

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